JOSH STEPHENSON/Durango Herald
The Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse team played one of half of “Fort Lewis lacrosse.”
But a lone half wasn’t enough to beat Lindenwood, and the Lions won 19-10 on Monday at Ray Dennison Memorial Field.
“We played very good in the first,” FLC head coach Kelsey MacDonald said. “We were making good stops on defense. ... Taking our time and doing what we needed to capitalize and score.”
Kicked off by Justiene Groothuis’ score just 47 seconds into the game, the Lions opened up a 5-1 lead early in the first half, aided by win after win on the draw.
The Lions won 23 of 30 draw controls Monday.
Groothuis finished with six goals, while Maddi Ossell and Melissa Smith each scored four to keep Lindenwood undefeated – 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.
But the Skyhawks didn’t panic, settling back into a solid defense and working to turn over Lindenwood’s attack.
It started to work.
Fort Lewis scored four of the next five goals to pull within a single goal at 6-5.
Jessica Norby tallied a hat trick on FLC’s first four goals, while Ally Kvidera got the other point. Norby and Kvidera finished with four goals apiece.
“They were killing us on the draw, but we were coming up with caused turnovers; we were making the stops, and then when we had the ball on our attack, we were poised and not throwing our passes away.
“That’s Fort Lewis lacrosse,” MacDonald said.
That style of play kept the Skyhawks within striking distance. Although the Lions opened up a three-goal lead with two quick scores as the clock approached 1 minute remaining in the first half, the Skyhawks answered with a beautiful goal when Norby, from the far right side, hit Brook Wineland with a sharp pass in front of goal.
Wineland flicked the ball high sideways past Lindenwood goalkeeper Christin Hehmeyer with 11 seconds remaining, seeming to grab back the game’s momentum.
Not so fast.
Lindenwood’s Lindsey Palmer took a pass from Ossello at the goal mouth, paused for a half second, then slammed home a goal past FLC keeper Alyssa Spencer, who made 13 saves total Monday, with .5 seconds left.
Although FLC held the Lions scoreless for the first 8:35 of the second half, the Skyhawks couldn’t cut into the lead either.
Then, Lindenwood rattled off three in a two-minute stretch to take a 13-7 lead, and Fort Lewis wilted, Macdonald said.
“I don’t know if once they went up by five we kind of stopped playing a little bit ... five goals is not a lot in lacrosse. You’ve got to have the mental toughness to come back by five,” MacDonald said.
“It comes down to, I think, with your girls you just need to build up them a little more and keep reiterating that we have the skill set; we can come back. You have to have the confidence in yourself and your team to know that.”
Fort Lewis (4-5 overall, 3-3 WILA) will head on the road for two more WILA games next weekend – McKendree at noon in Lebanon, Ill., then at Lindenwood at 11 a.m. in St. Charles, Mo.